written by Michelle DeVona
Restaurateur Micah Camden has done it again. Best known as
As he neared 40 years old, Camden realized he couldn’t eat the way he did in his younger days, especially when it came to dairy and gluten. “I’ve always had an aversion to soy because of the Monsanto stigma. When I started going down the rabbit hole of what a dairy replacement could be or should be, I was able to find out that the genetic properties of a soybean
Curious what would happen if he treated a chickpea like a soybean, Camden started experimenting. He watched a video that went through the process of making soy milk and then tried the same thing with chickpeas. The result was not what he was hoping for. “I could tell it still tasted like a bean. So I started to research what makes a bean taste like a bean and treat the beans in such a way naturally to get rid of that flavor,” he explained.
After tinkering a little more, Camden figured out how to rid chickpea milk of the strange bean taste and instead accentuate its naturally sweet, nutty flavor. And this is where he reached the turning point. “I thought, well what can you make with milk?” Camden continued. “And then it came to me—ice cream. It was just a light bulb that exploded.”
While Camden knew he needed to cut back on dairy, dairy-free ice creams never filled the void for him. Nut-based ice cream doesn’t freeze well, and it’s impossible to escape the coconut flavor. “It’s never just strawberry ice cream, it’s always strawberry-coconut,” he said. “What makes Little Bean unique is, in the non-dairy world of ice creams like coconut or almond, you have to use stabilizers because there’s not a rich juxtaposition of starches, natural proteins
Camden gets his chickpeas from Washington, and with its proximity to Oregon, this cuts down on the carbon footprint. Plus, chickpeas are a sustainable crop and can grow even in drought.
Creating a non-dairy ice cream business was unfamiliar territory, so Camden hired a team of board members to help with the branding, marketing
Situated in Portland’s trendy Pearl District, Little Bean may just prove itself the next big kahuna of dairy-free ice cream. Before opening this fall
All flavors have